At Ampersand we have been running a graduate programme for over 10 years. We pride ourselves on nurturing young talent and giving graduates the confidence and guidance to thrive in a fast-paced agency environment.
With this in mind, we sat down with some of our mentors to find out what brought them to a career in web development and what advice they could bestow on upcoming graduates.
Getting into development
Our employees come from many different backgrounds and follow different routes to becoming web developers. We asked members of our team who are mentoring this year’s cohort of graduates how they got into development and working with us at Ampersand.
One of our Senior Backend Developers, Alex started at Ampersand as a graduate student around 5 years ago, he first encountered Ampersand at a University fair where he chatted to our recruitment team, he said, “What caught my attention was the possibility of working on new projects as well as working in a team and learning new things along the way.”
Dan is also a Senior Backend Developer at Ampersand, he’s always had an interest in computing and enjoyed learning about software and programming, when asked how he got into development at Ampersand he said, “I built a fan website for a computer game when I was 13 in MS Publisher of all things which sparked my initial interest in web development. Eventually got into freelancing then moved into agency work, now I’m here.”
Hasan came to Ampersand as a Backend Developer from the Middle East for a new challenge in his career, he got into computing through “Watching my sister (who is also a software developer) proudly creating her first email service website which looked like Hotmail. I started learning HTML and JS when I was 16 and created my first static website to display some products.”
Luke studied at the University of Manchester, then gained experience by doing some freelance development work before he joined Ampersand through our graduate programme, he said, “16 years ago I started dabbling in Frontpage, Dreamweaver, and then removing the WYSIWYG and playing with the raw HTML then a bit of PHP…I then studied computer science at University,”
Advice for new graduates
During our graduate programme, our grads are assigned mentors to help guide them through their new role and the industry. They’re always on hand to help and share knowledge, as a developer at any level, you’ll be learning all the time. Alex comments, “Always be hungry for knowledge and get ready to be wrong 50%-80% of the time. In the tech industry so much changes in a year; what you learned in university is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Take it step by step, try not to jump in too deep too early, learn the basic principles first and then everything else just falls into place. ~ Sonny
With such a changing tech industry it’s easy to start to feel overwhelmed, Dan’s advice is, “Don’t panic! There’s always help if you’re stuck, be it through research, forums or colleagues. 9 times out of 10 someone has had the same issue as you before and can potentially offer guidance.”
Liam suggests graduates, “Learn the principles first! Don’t worry about getting bogged down in the specifics of choosing and learning a language. Understanding the core principles of development will get you far (OOP / SOLID etc).”
Never stop asking questions. Even if it sounds like a stupid one. Ask it. ~ Kieran
Apply for our 2022 Graduate Scheme
Are you interested in our Graduate Developer Programme? Applications are open now, head to the careers page here to apply.
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